Lingxi Lake

Lingxi Lake. Image: YCIIHG

Route Overview

Route Overview

Lingxi Lake (灵犀湖) is an alpine tarn set near timberline, elev. 4,070 meters. It is situated 1½ km southwest of Shika’s summit. There are three ways to reach the lake: a) entirely on foot, b) walking down from the cable car top station, or c) walking up from the middle station.


Route Description

Route Description

Lingxi Lake Entirely On Foot

Follow the Base to Summit Route (从山脚到山顶路线) to Yak Meadow (牦牛牧场), hiking time 1 hour 40 minutes. At the edge of the meadow, turn left (south) on the dirt road. Walk the road 6 km to the end where there is a parking lot, 1½ hours. For the initial stretch, the road gradually descends before ascending a bit to a sharp bend in the road. Here the road turns west and enters the valley drainage of Lingxi Lake. It ascends gradually with a few steeper parts and finally reaches the parking lot at 4,030 meters.


The Lingxi Lake Boardwalk (灵犀湖·栈道) begins here and ascends to the upper station of the cable car (2.5 km, 1½ hours). See Shika overview article for its history and purpose. It is possible to approach the lake from the boardwalk, but dismounting onto the ground can be awkward and maybe a bit unsafe.


To reach the lake shore more easily, turn left (west) at the parking lot and follow the edge of the forest a short distance to a well-defined footpath. Ascend the path to the lake in 15 minutes.

For information about using the cable car to reach Lingxi Lake, see the sections further below.


Summary: Lingxi Lake Entirely on Foot

Summary: Lingxi Lake Entirely on Foot

Location: Shika Snow Mountain
Itinerary: Cable Car Base Station—Yak Meadow—Dirt Road—Footpath—Lake
Duration: 3½ hours one-way
Distance: 10 km one-way
Altitude in Meters: Start 3,400. Max 4,070. End 4,070
Elevation Gain: 750 meters
Rating: Challenging
Hiking Times: Base Station to Yak Meadow 1 hr 40 min. Bend in road 1:55. Parking lot 3:15. Lake 3:30

Lingxi Lake from Cable Car Top Station

Starting at the top station, ascend to the visitor observation platform, 4,400 meters (signed as 4,500). Take the boardwalk heading south, as this is the one which descends the mountain all the way to the parking lot at the end. Shortly below the observation platform, you may have to climb over a couple of barriers intended to dissuade tourists from continuing down the boardwalk.


Roughly half way down you will pass “Ten Thousand Acre Rhododendron Forest” (万亩杜鹃林)


About 2 km from the top station and several hundred meters above the parking lot, the boardwalk makes a close approach to the lake. But getting down onto the ground can be tricky. As noted above, a safer way to reach the lake shore is the footpath starting at the parking lot. Descending to the parking lot and taking the path adds one kilometer to the distance traveled.

After visiting the lake, you can walk all the way down the mountain by way of the dirt road and Base to Summit Route. But if you want to utilize the cable car, you have the choice of ascending the boardwalk back to the top station, or walking the dirt road 7 km down to the middle station.

Images YCIIHG: Yunnan Cultural Industry Investment Holding Group


Summary: Lingxi Lake from Cable Car Top Station

Summary: Lingxi Lake from Cable Car Top Station

Location: Shika Snow Mountain
Itinerary: Cable Car Top Station—Observation Platform—Boardwalk—Dismount Boardwalk—Lake
Duration: 1 hour (descent) one-way
Distance: 2 km one-way
Altitude in Meters: Start 4,390. Max 4,410. End 4,070
Elevation Gain: Gain 20 meters. Loss 340 meters
Rating: Moderate

Summary: Lingxi Lake from Cable Car Middle Station

Summary: Lingxi Lake from Cable Car Middle Station

Location: Shika Snow Mountain
Itinerary: Cable Car Middle Station—Dirt Road—Footpath—Lake
Duration: 2 hours one-way
Distance: 7 km one-way
Altitude in Meters: Start 3,750. Max 4,070. End 4,070
Elevation Gain: 350 meters
Rating: Moderate
Hiking Times: Middle Station to bend in road 25 minutes. Parking lot 1:45. Lake 2:00



Written by
Pieter Crow
2023-08-31